Manama: A Saudi activist who has been reportedly arrested for a tweet she posted last year told investigators her words should be understood within their context and not misinterpreted.
Squad Al Shammari was apprehended on Tuesday in the Red Sea port city of Jeddah following formal complaints by religious figures over a tweet they found offensive to Islam and Prophet Mohammad (PBuH).
However, Suad said she was not targeting Islam claiming earlier tweets supported her argument, local daily Makkah reported on Sunday, citing ‘a well-informed’ source.
The activist waded into controversy last year when she said on the microblog that the Islamic saying that men should have beards to distinguish them from non-believers did not make sense.
“Several atheists, Jews and Communists in the past had, and in the present have, beards, and even Abu Jahl [a polytheist pagan leader] had a beard that was longer than that of Prophet Mohammad (PBuH),” she reportedly said.
Several senior religious figures in the Saudi kingdom condemned her tweet, accusing her of denigrating Islam and targeting the Prophet, and calling for severe action against her, including putting her on trial.
According to local news site Sabq, a commission to support Prophet Mohammad (PBuH) had repeatedly requested Suad to put an end to her ‘misleading and misinformed’ tweets that were offensive to Islam. The commission had also called the telecommunication authorities in the Saudi kingdom to shut down her accounts on social networks.
Reacting to news of Suad’s detention, most social media users joined in the call for action against her, saying that she had gone too far in targeting Islam.
Suad was the co-founder of the Saudi Liberals group along with Raef Badawi, who is currently serving a seven-year sentence on charges of setting up a website that undermines general security and ridiculing religious figures.